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ChemMan's picture
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Digital streamers with Floor standers fuller sound?

I am looking for advice/perspective on upgrading my sources. After completing volume leveling experiments with a decibel meter, I spent some time comparing. Tidal vs. CD. (tidal thru Macbook pro & Dragon Fly black; CD thru and old Rotel CD player circa 2001). CD a bit better.

I want a fuller sound especially at low volumes and my guys at the stereo store are recommending the Aurender N10 with Musical Fidelity M6s DAC which would go with my existing old school Velodyne sub, Arcam A39 and Kef LS50s, both two years old. Essentially they are of the opinion, and I agree, upgrading cables and such are not the way to improve sound at this point. In essence I am maxed out.

I own about 200 Cds and subscribe to Tidal. I am looking for a bit of advice. It seems a waste to buy a server just to stream Tidal when I don't own very many digital files. I feel like the prices are in the ballpark about 4500 euro combined price for both.

Thanks in advance

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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It's a tought one. Yes, it's

It's a tought one. Yes, it's worth having a good source. But at 4,500 EUR it feels quite a lot compared to the rest of your system. Have you got any future plans to upgrade amp/speakers or would this be it? 

ChemMan wrote:

I want a fuller sound especially at low volumes and my guys at the stereo store are recommending the Aurender N10 with Musical Fidelity M6s DAC which would go with my existing old school Velodyne sub, Arcam A39 and Kef LS50s, both two years old. Essentially they are of the opinion, and I agree, upgrading cables and such are not the way to improve sound at this point. In essence I am maxed out.

Can you describe what "fuller sound" means to you? Is it bass that you feel is lacking or is it something else? How do you feel about your system when it's played at mid-high volumes?

My system and currently testing...  Get in touch insider_9@yahoo.com

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Just replace your setup with

Just replace your setup with the KEF LS50 wireless speakers. These will sound clearly better, also at lower volumes. And it will be a lot cheaper.wink

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considered this as well

but then I have to figure out how to sell the exsiting stuff.  I have been round and round with my wife about this. It does everything I want as well.

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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That is a pitty. You only

That is a pitty. You only have to sell your speakers and amplifier and replace them by the wireless version. The wireles version is much better in my opinion and also contains streaming functionality. And it is a lot cheaper.

Either way, i would not spend 4500 Euro for a fuller sound at lower volumes in your setup.

According to me a better amplifier will give you better results, also at lower volumes.

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A fuller sound means..

..that it sounds loud when you are in the room, but you can still have a normal conversation.  A couple audiophile pals have expensive systems and they get this kind of effect.  For instance, If I put Adele 25 song 5,  because this has been my experiment control album, her voice is shockingly clear and detailed when I turn it up to about 30. (72.5 dB) Yet, I want to hear more of that piano.  Or, on Tidal to get the same response it is 36 on the volume, but it is a bit thinner. Maybe it is a case of 50 year old ears. I do feel like I am getting enough bass.   The sub runs off two cables coming from preamp out R and L.  The volume there remains just a bump off min.

My research says the Musical Fidelity M6s Dac also functions as a pre-amp which would mean I could buy an amplifier to pair with it at a later date.  So to answer your question I would continue to upgrade. After owning B&W CDM 1 se for twenty years and being super happy and even reluctant to sell them, the LS 50s are stunning speakers for the money and size, but I could and would compliment them with soemthing else.

The other route I was thinking still puts me at about 3000 if I get the Music Fid DAC and also a streamer like the Cambridge Audio Azur 851N.  

My next step is to do some kind of demo whether in the store or at home.  I bought the A39 sight unseen because I was living in Prague and had very little access to Hi-Fi.  Athough it sounds a lot better than my old, old A70. I wish I would have had a chance to go better. Now I feel like I am stuck a bit, hence the idea of buying sources that won't ever really need upgrading. I am not super worried about the money. My wife and I fight over the volume more than the money, and we are probably always going to be apartment dwellers, so I will never have the dedicated sound room/office.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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Try a different dealer. There

Try a different dealer. There are other, less costly options which would fit nicely into your system.

www.strictlystereo.com

Amphion | Auralic | Bluesound | DSPeaker | Dutch & Dutch | Exogal | Exposure | Grado | Graham Audio | Hegel | Innuos | Melco | Mytek | Neat Acoustics | Roon | Tellurium Q

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Strictly Stereo wrote:

Strictly Stereo wrote:

Try a different dealer. There are other, less costly options which would fit nicely into your system.

I agree.  A replay device in the Aurender league deserves a diet of hi res files, not a crummy streaming service.  You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear; but I agree about the wireless LS50s.

Michell Tecnodec/Rega/Grado record player, Linn Sneaky DS, Marantz SA14s1 SE SACD player, Primare I32 amplifier, Hitachi FT-5500 mark I and II tuners, Nakamichi ZX-7, ATC SCM40 spkrs.

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What is it that you're able

What is it that you're able to demo? I'd suggest listening to amp+speaker pairings at your local dealer. I associate low level listening with amplifier performance. But that's only if the speakers are capable of delivering it. I'm not certain yours are. It's not a criticism, every component just sounds best at certain volume level. For instance my amp is for medium to high level listening, it's not that it is bad at low level but it just gets so much better when you listen to it louder. Would be great if LS50 owners could chip in as my demo of these speakers was below par.

4,500EUR is not small change. I'd expect good performance that matches your requirements. You can do a lot with it and spending it on Aurender would be really low on my list.

My system and currently testing...  Get in touch insider_9@yahoo.com

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FWIW. As an owner of LS50s,

FWIW. As an owner of LS50s, my thoughts are:

1. Stands:

- What stands are they on?

- Are the stands filled...and if so, with what.

- Are the speakers Blu Tak'd to the stands 

- How are the stands connected to the floor and what sort of floor is it.

The stands and how they're filled, can make a very big difference on how the LS50s sound. Get it right and they sound much bigger than they are.

2. Amp

The Arcam A39 sounds very well with the Kefs.

3. Source

Try and get a listen to a Linn DS, even if it's the humble Sneaky - but the Majik is better again. I'm streaming Tidal through a Majik DS and it sounds really good...though I'm no longer using the LS50s.

4. Cables

Cables can be looked at after the rest of the system is sorted. IMO. Avoid silver coated copper and stick with no nonsense copper cables, like Linn K20 (ebay), Van Damme UP LC OFC, or QED 79 Strand.

5. Budget

If I was spending £4500 to transorm your system, it would be on an Arcam A49 (which can now be had for £2-2.5k) and a Majik DS. I have heard this combination and it sounds remarkably good. The Active version is also a good shout.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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info on LS50s and setup

Stands are all metal they come in at a mass of 13.6 kg each.  On feet, wood floor, unfilled.  Tweeter is exactly 90 cm off the floor spekers are 2.3 m apart.  Cables are these Audioquest bargain basement type 4 copper cables using bare wire connection.

As a couple other people mentioned here, the dealer is potentially a problem.  They can get pretty much whatever I need, but I have to be careful with them. They are clearly upsellers.  The more research I do, the more I realize I don't need an aurender. I don't really need a network server, I don't have an digital files to speak of and zero hi-res. Tidal and 200 or so CDs is about it for me.

The more I read, the less need I see for a big chunk of change on a streaming device.  I just want to get out of the computer. There are two camps out there regarding this it seems.  Computer people are saying the streaming device is irrelevant as it is simply transporting a digital file and not coloring the music.  Others are going by there ears and saying it does.  

So I am thinking I should spend some money on a good DAC, and a music streamer that can be controlled via a tablet or phone. 

If the amplifier really is the issue, than I guess I am sunk.  I don't know beans about the secondary sales market for used hi-fi in Belgium if I want to try and unload stuff.

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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- Try filling stands with

- Try filling stands with Kiln Dried sand, further dried in the oven if necessary. If this gives too much bass, try filling with uncooked rice.

- Make up your mind by listening....then spend your money based on whether you think any improvement is worth the money. 

- IME The Source is critical and needs to be in balance (quality wise) with the system. You cannot take other peoples' opinions as gospel...as they can only speak for their preferences. I have listened to all sorts of DACs and Streamers...and Linn gives me  what what I'm looking for.

- The Arcam A39 is not the problem per se imo.....but the A49 is a fairly dramatic step up (as you'd expect for the price difference).

- Pathos make great Amps as well.

IMO. Only use the info and suggestions you get on here as research.....and a basis for trying stuff out. This is the only way you will find out what is right for you.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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I was hoping to either bring home something or...

...have them set something up for me there like a similar amp and speaker set up to mine and then plug a few different dacs in from my computer.  They are of the opinion my dragon fly is junk except for headphones.

Same with choosing a streamer I guess.  Compare to the computer.  

With all the reading going on now, it's not just the sound.  I want to get away from using a computer to put Tidal into my system.  I want to have something plugged into ethernet that deals with Tidal for me and have it connect directly to the DAC and then I can control music with phone or tablet.   On the other hand, if the 20 year old CD player sounds a tad bit fuller than Tidal I need to address this issue as well.  My guess would be thru the DAC, but clearly I've been wrong before.  I am also reading that USB connected DACS are not ideal (coax is better) and also this business with delivering a digital file to your DAC and worrying about "jitters" is mainly nonsense. 

In essence, who knows what to believe.  Even Tidal's MQA is getting dirt thrown on it in professional testing.

 

 

 

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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With a Linn DS, you will need

With a Linn DS, you will need a NAS and rip any music onto it.

Linn supports Tidal and you even get a 3 month free trial

Going this way does away with your PC (except for ripping) and goes with a Hard Wired ethernet network.

You need to start somewhere - and demoing a DS into an Arcam, driving LS50s will give you a good benchmark. I suggest this, as it's something I'm very familiar with.

I used to have a Highend Linn Karik/Numerik CDP....which was comfortably out performed by the Linn Sneaky. This was a bit of an eye-opener.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Hi cheman

For 4500 euros, I would add the under mentioned to your audition list :

Bluesound node 2 > chord qutest dac > arcam a49

You could replace the bluesound node 2 + chord dac with the Linn Majik to tidy up on cabling.

Or if you are willing to up your budget and get a devialet 120, it would replace all the three that I mentioned Smile

Movies > Marantz SR6011 + parasound halo integrated > Supra cabling > Qacoustics concept 40 + concept centre + Qacoustics Q7000i + Yamaha in-ceiling speakers > 5.1.4 Music > Devialet air > Devialet D premier > Highend master class cabling > PMC twenty 26

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You're right

I have to start somewhere.

Kef LS 50s Arcam FMJ A39, Rotel RCD 961, Velodyne CHT 10; MacBook Pro w/ Tidal; Dragonfly Black

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